‘We must do battle:’ Michael Avenatti urges New Hampshire Dems to fight

Staff photo by Kathy Cleveland Michael Avenatti was mobbed by people at the Hillsborough County Democrats’ Summer Picnic Sunday.

GREENFIELD – The man some call Donald Trump’s worst nightmare got an enthusiastic welcome at the Hillsborough County Democrats’ Summer Picnic Sunday afternoon.

That’s what the state Democratic chairman, Ray Buckley, called Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels and a possible 2020 contender for presidency.

Avenatti told more than 280 people gathered in Oak Park that the Trump presidency has galvanized him.

“Donald Trump does not have the wisdom, compassion and fortitude to serve as president,” but he is a fighter, while Democrats are divided on how to fight, Avenatti said.

“He may be the worst president ever,” Avenatti added, “but he beat 17 opponents. He knows how to fight.” Democrats are the David in a David and Goliath fight and they should not “bring a nail clipper to a gunfight.”

“When they go low, we hit harder,” he said, taking off on Michelle Obama’s slogan,“When they go low, we go high.” And if Democrats want a more inclusive, welcoming and kind America, “we must be willing to do battle to achieve it.”

“I thought the office would change the man,” he said, but the opposite has happened, the man has debased the presidency. Trump “wants to usher us back to the dark ages when industry was allowed to pollute the environment and billions more go to billionaires.”

We have a “cruel and unusual president,” Avenatti said, who “whips us into hatred” so we forget all the embarrassments he caused here and abroad.

Avenatti said he wants affordable college, protection of abortion rights and transgender and women’s rights and Medicare for all.

As for Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, Avenatti said “headline writers only know her by her occupation, but she is a fighter “for truth and justice with incredible courage and fortitude.” Daniels is suing to get out of a non-disclosure agreement relating to an alleged sexual relationship with Trump before the 2016 election.

The picnic had been going on for nearly three hours by the time Avenatti arrived, and people seemed happy to wait, eat hamburgers and corn on the cob and talk about him. Among those waiting were members of the national press corps, including reporters and photographers from National Public Radio, the Boston Globe and the Associated Press, among others.

Wilton Selectman Kermit Williams called Avenatti “a personal hero of mine” and said he admires the way the attorney has been able to help unite refugee parents and children,“when the government says they can’t do it.”

Rod Watkins, who moved to New Ipswich from Milford and is starting a Democratic committee in what he called the most conservative town in the state, said Avenatti “has interesting things to say and is extremely well spoken.”

Running for the Democratic nomination for governor in the Sept. 11 primary is Steve Marchand, who said he likes Avenatti’s core message – that Democrats must “push back with great force.”

After the speech, Peterborough state Rep. and former Milford selectman Peter Leishman called Avenatti “pretty impressive,” and said he liked the way he promised to “fight fire with fire.”

On Saturday, Avenatti spoke at a Democrat dinner in Florida. Both New Hampshire and Florida are vital states for presidential contenders. He also has visited Iowa, whose caucuses start the presidential nomination process.

When asked if he will run for president, Avenatti said he didn’t know yet and “we’re on a grand tour to find out.”

Proceeds from the picnic will go toward local Democratic races, said Roger Lessard, chairman of the Hillsborough County Democrats.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@nashuatelegraph.com.